Bain Said Near Deal to Sell German Clutch Maker FTE to Valeo

  • French auto-parts maker could announce purchase this week
  • Buyout firm Bain acquired FTE from PAI Partners in 2013

Bain Capital, a Boston-based buyout firm, is in advanced talks to sell German clutch maker FTE Automotive GmbH to French auto-parts company Valeo SA, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal could be announced as early as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. FTE, which is based in Ebern, Germany, could be valued at 600 million euros ($671 million) to 1 billion euros in any transaction, they said. Talks are ongoing and could still fall apart or be delayed, the people said.

FTE has also attracted interest from Chinese automotive suppliers and other buyout firms, the people said. Car sales remain at historically strong levels, and automotive manufacturing deals have more than tripled to about $12.4 billion so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Valeo, France’s second-biggest auto-parts maker, has made a spate of German acquisitions in previous months, including Spheros GmbH, which makes air conditioning systems for buses, and Peiker Acustic GmbH to bolster its autonomous driving and connected vehicles technology. FTE, which Bain acquired from PAI Partners in 2013, is a world leader in hydraulic clutch actuation systems for manual transmissions in light vehicles, according to the buyout firm’s website.

Valeo shares rose 1.3 percent to 136.20 euros at 10:28 a.m. in Paris, valuing the company at 10.8 billion euros.

Representatives for Valeo and Bain declined to comment. A representative for FTE didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

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